Barcodes are machine-readable data codes which are used to store information that can be retrieved by specially designed scanners. Barcodes can be created using different barcoding techniques, known as symbologies, categorized into linear and 2D matrix. Laser and inkjet printers can be used to print linear barcode however a thermal barcode printer is required for printing 2D matrix barcodes. The linear barcodes are thin and thick black bars printed on a white background and can store up to 14 numeric characters which is sufficient to be identified as a serial number in several applications such as warehousing, distribution and inventory control. The 2D matrix uses intricate patterns of blocks and arrangements instead of lines; hence, it can store thousands of characters. Irrespective of the symbology used, the amount of information stored in the barcode depends on its size, which in turn, depends on the barcode scanner being used.
There are four basic kinds of barcode readers namely pen, laser, charged couple device (CCD) and 2D camera differing on the basis of their size and their light capturing capabilities. The scanners emit light on the barcode and capture the remitted light from the barcode as optical code information. The barcode scanner uses its software to convert this information into a digital signal which performs the programmed function such as displaying of information, updating the inventory etc. The barcode readers have an embedded auto discrimination feature which identifies the symbology used and decodes accordingly. Auto discrimination makes barcode data entry extremely accurate by enabling the readers to map the combinations to the correct character.
With an error rate of one per 3 million characters and size variable up to a couple of inches, barcodes have become a very convenient way of storing and reading information. Barcodes have found a broad range of applications such as shipping and logistics, retailing, managing books and documents and other organizational applications. In asset and inventory management, functions such as inventory control software, warehouse management, package tracking etc. can be easily completed using barcodes. In mobile data collection industry barcodes provide an optimum solution for market activity tracking, wireless data collection and batch data collection which require high level of efficiency and accuracy.
One of the key players in the barcode reader industry include Honeywell which, by acquiring Intermec, has augmented its existing solutions in barcode, RFID and mobile computing. Other companies such as OCR Canada, General Data Company and Barcoding Inc. have also acquired similar companies as a part of their expansion strategies. In the barcode printer industry, dominating players such as Datamax-O’Neil and Printronix are also seeking expansive measures to seize the opportunity in this growing barcode industry. SATO, a market leader in Asia-Pacific region, aims to penetrate low cost market opportunities in Latin-America and Asia-Pacific with its acquisition of Argox. Companies such as Zebra Technologies have launched a new line of MFi (made for Iphone) certified printers which are designed to support printing applications such as tickets, receipts, invoice and proof of delivery. Telenor, the largest mobile coupon provider in Norway, has acquired Liquid Barcodes indicating the importance of barcodes in the future of coupon industry. The growth of barcode industry is inevitable as all industries are being creative in finding out ways to incorporate this technology to make their products more attractive and lucrative.
This research report analyzes this market on the basis of its market segments, major geographies, and current market trends. Geographies analyzed under this research report include
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- Asia Pacific
- Rest of the World
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